Bright skies are ahead for Red Deer Airport.
The past year’s successes and the future endeavors were shared with stakeholders at the Red Deer Airport Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
Some of the milestones included 44,138 airplane take offs and landings, a 10 per cent increase from 2010 and the introduction of de-icing service for planes on the tarmac to reduce flight cancellation and airport grounding risks. Two new commercial tenants joined the airport site bringing the number to 47 tenants on the airport site.
There was a slight decrease in passenger numbers in 2011. Last year there were 7,347 passengers compared to 7,887.
However, the number of passengers are expected to climb to 8,500 in 2012 with the introduction of Northwestern Air Lease Ltd. new non-stop flight to Kelowna starting today. As well as, Northwestern’s direct flight to Dawson Creek, starting on May 14.
“We’re certainly optimistic with Northwestern Air coming in and our area structure plan coming to a conclusion,” said RJ Steenstra, Red Deer Airport, chief executive officer. “From there it can only go up or get better.”
In February, the airport replaced its punch code system at the gate with a magnetic key security system to improve security and safety at the airport. Some airport tenants raised concerns at the meeting saying they were not properly consulted with the change.
Among the plans for 2012, the airport will apply for customs designation, conduct a live emergency exercise with Red Deer County Emergency Services and partners, and identify new viable routes and airlines.